By Kenneth Jackson

By Kenneth Jackson

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Valley Duty"

Three years ago, I walked out of Brookhaven Retreat in Tennessee where I spent three months for anxiety and depression, including being suicidal-- plus I had to be detoxed from a prescription drug for anxiety that I had been addicted to for a year, and I also had shock treatments while I was there.  I thought there was no way I would ever be able to face people and look them in the eye after going through all of that with the guilt and shame I was experiencing .  I TOTALLY underestimated the love and grace of God and the army of people He had raised up to pray me through! 
I have had so many posts to share, especially what God has done in my life and heart since Brookhaven, but just haven't been obedient to write them---so in thinking of where to start, I came across this message I had written almost six years ago when I was on a "spiritual high."  At that time, little did I know I was about to go through the hardest, darkest valley of my life.  As hard as I prayed for the Lord to deliver me out of the pain, I realized I was going to have to go through.  Sometimes faith lifts us out and sometimes faith takes us through.  Either you or someone you know is going through a valley.  I pray this post ministers to you:  "I believe the Lord gives us many  mountaintop experiences with Him to prepare us for "valley duty." It is wonderful to be on top of a mountain--the sky is so blue--the air so crisp--all is well.  It is like that in our spiritual walk with the Lord.  When we are on top of a mountain--on a spiritual high--all is well.  We feel that life is good--God is good, and we need those times desperately of refreshing and encouragement.  However, just like on the top of a real mountain, when you get above the tree line, nothing grows up there.  It is all barren.  All the lush, green growth is in the valleys below.  So it is with us on our spiritual journey--we grow in the valleys of life, not on the mountaintops, because it is when the hard times come, that we realize how much we are in need of God's grace, strength, and mercy.  It is then that we cannot rely on our own strength but His.  We can feel His presence surrounding us way up high on those spiritual mountaintops, but when we are in so much pain, sometimes we cannot feel Him at all--in fact, we may think that He has forsaken us.  Jesus did that on the cross when He cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"  When all the weight of our sins was on Him and He was carrying all that and in so much pain, He cried out to the Father, but the Father had never forsaken His Son--He was right there with Him on the cross  In those hard valleys of life, He will never forsake us, but strengthen us and carry us through the valleys.  It is easy to rejoice on the mountaintops and say how good our God is, but I believe that even in the darkest of valleys, our God wants us to rejoice and know how loving, gracious and kind He is.  I believe He wants us to trust Him so that we will KNOW that He will bring us through every one of them--to rejoice no matter what KNOWING He will never forsake us, never fail us, but is with us every step of the way.  That "valley duty" is when we minister His love, joy, peace, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and encouragement to all those people we meet in life who are going through a hard, dark valley.  You can be sure as a member of His army that He is preparing you for that "valley duty."  He has need of you---many are walking through dark, hard, painful valleys and are in need of His comfort, grace and strength."
This is the exact message I wrote those many years ago, but I must confess that going through the valley, I did not do a good job of rejoicing my way through!!!  Mainly, I was just trying to endure  and not doing a very good job at times!  I am amazed how He brought me through and used many of you to encourage and pray for me---you were doing "valley duty" as part of being in God's army!!  Thank you!!
Today, there is someone you know who is in one of those valleys, and I believe the Lord will use you to minister His healing love, grace, mercy, forgiveness or encouragement to them---God has need of you!!

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